What is Blackface? A POV from a U.S. History Teacher

Word cloud of words about Blackface.

By Enrique Martinez ’20,

The viral act of blackface has brought up many questions like “should this be allowed?” or “is the act offensive or not?” Well, wearing a blackface can affect others.

What is blackface? Blackface is the performance of white individuals painting their faces with black paint and performing on stage: representing a caricature of a black person. The blackface can be referred back to the former Virginia Governor Ralph Northam incident. This included Northam’s high school yearbook picture, which was a photo of him wearing a blackface. However, he implied that he did no such thing.

Joshua Sosa, U.S. History Teacher, explained how he does not agree with black face: “It is very stereotypical towards black people.” “[It is] more so like a clown or mimicking [someone],” Sosa had continued on, “It’s inherently racist and it’s closely related to Jim Crow.” Surprisingly, this act is still ongoing.

Blackface has become such a prominent role that the problem is more noticable.

Sosa had further stated, “The act of making a post about Blackface definitely plays a big role [in your future].” Sosa had continued on to say, “This truly says something about yourself in terms of identity.”

In many cases, there are movies, or performances, where the actors have a darker complexion similar to blackface. Therefore, there should be no reason why white actors paint their faces black to imitate a certain culture. “Directors should not have a white person paint [their faces] black [when] you can just hire a black person,” Sosa had said, “It’s an abomination and insulting to black people and their culture.”

This act can be very offensive to many people. Sosa later stated, “You would like your culture respected so don’t do anything that might offend other cultures.”